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POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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POC Otocon Race MIPS Helmet (Sapphire Purple/Uranium Black)
 POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet  POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet
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Vital Rides the Otocon - POC’s New Lightweight, Ventilated Full Face

POC joins the lightweight, breathable full face party.

Rating: Vital Review
Vital Rides the Otocon - POC’s New Lightweight, Ventilated Full Face

The lightweight, ventilated full face helmet category has really come into its own over the last few years, owing in no small measure to the ever-increasing popularity of the enduro racing format but also to the kind of riding that a modern mountain bike unlocks access to. Even trail bikes will tackle some pretty rowdy terrain these days, and more and more riders find themselves wanting a bit more protection without the bulk and the warmth of a classic full face. POC makes some really nice helmets, but there was a distinct hole in the line-up between the Coron full face and the Tectal / Kortal half shell lids. Enter the all-new Otocon – keep reading to learn more and get our riding impressions straight from the trail.

POC Otocon MIPS Race Highlights

  • “Aramid Bridges” coupled with injection-molded, EPS/EPP dual zone impact liner
  • Polycarbonate outer shell
  • Deep ventilation channels
  • MIPS Integra
  • “Race Lock” integrated retention and fit adjustment system
  • Removable cheek pads
  • Break-away peak
  • Bad weather peak extension
  • twICEme® NFC Medical ID
  • Recco radar reflector
  • Removable front grill
  • Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), L
  • Safety certification: EN 1078, CPSC 12.03, AS/NZS 2063 AND ASTM F1952
  • Weight (Otocon Race MIPS): 754 grams (size M, verified)
  • Weight (Otocon): 680 grams (size M, claimed)
  • MSRP (Otocon Race MIPS): EURO 329.95 / GBP 300 / USD 350 / SEK 3,299 / CAD 420
  • MSRP (Otocon): EURO 269.95 / GBP 240 / USD 270 / SEK 2,699 / CAD 310

Initial Impressions

The Otocon slots in between the more heavy duty Coron full face and the Tectal/Kortal half shell helmets in the POC range, and it takes clear styling cues from them all. The general outline is close to the Coron, but the design language is more angular and elaborate like on the Kortal. As with all POC helmets, the quality and finish are second to none.

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POC has always been about making the safest helmets possible, so it comes as no surprise to find the Otocon loaded with safety features. Starting with the construction, there’s a mix of EPP and EPS foam used in the main impact liner, and in the case of the Otocon Race MIPS version that we are reviewing here, an “aramid bridge” is used to connect the liner to the polycarbonate shell. The comfort liner incorporates MIPS Integra, basically a combination of slippery internal surfaces and a gel-like substance that together provide the helmet shell with the necessary rotational freedom to help reduce the effects of off-axis impacts to the head. The helmet meets all common safety standards including the ASTM F1952 Downhill standard.

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POC also uses other kinds of technology in an effort to keep the user safer. There’s an NFC chip built into the helmet that can be used to store personal medical information that first responders and other healthcare professionals can access in case the user is found unconscious. There’s also a Recco radar reflector that may make finding the user easier in a rescue scenario. Both of these features may seem a little far-fetched but you’d have to admit that when it comes to safety, it’s probably better to have a feature you don’t need than to need a feature you don’t have. In any case, you can always opt for the regular Otocon which does not comes with these extras (it also foregoes the aramid bridge technology), which will save you 80 grams and 75 US dollars off the purchase price.

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POC also looked at ways to make the Otocon more comfortable and highly breathable at the same time. There are a significant number of deep air channels that run right along the entire length of the helmet, while the comfort liner features fairly minimal padding and cheek pads on the smaller side. There’s a clever “Race Lock” internal harness, similar to those found on most half shell helmets but with a unique twist: the dial is accessed from the outside of the helmet shell itself. The result is more of a hybrid solution that combines design elements from both traditional full face helmets and typical half shells. There’s also a two-point chin strap.

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The large visor in not adjustable, but it was designed to break away easily in the case of a crash, to avoid snagging and potentially twisting the user’s head around. The cheek pads can be easily removed after a crash by using the pull tabs. Thanks to the internal retention harness and the two-point chin strap, the Otocon can also be worn without the cheek pads which will further improve breathability. There are two sets of cheek pads in the box, of different thickness, and there is also a transparent bad weather peak extension included with the Race MIPS version.

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Comparing the Otocon to the helmets featured in our big lightweight full face roundup a couple of years ago, it comes in not far from the lightest helmets in that test. The Otocon Race MIPS is significantly more expensive than any helmet featured then, but it does also deliver more safety features than any of those other helmets. The regular Otocon comes in at a price that is more aligned with the competitors, and since it also sheds some more weight it clocks in among the very lightest. Run your numbers and make your tradeoffs.

On The Trail

The first thing we noticed is that it’s pretty hard to get into the Otocon, it’s one of those helmets that is very tight around the bottom opening. Once you squeeze into it however, it’s very comfortable. The thin liner and the small cheek pads give it a slightly more “austere” fit than a regular full face, but the overall comfort level is still high. The retention system dial is easy and convenient to use and it provides even, uniform pressure around the back of the head as you tighten it down. We tested a size M, meant for heads with a circumference of 55-58 cm, and it provided a great fit for our tester’s 58.5 cm noggin with a few clicks of the retention system to spare.

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The frontal opening is big and will accommodate your goggle of choice. Needless to say, POC’s own Ora goggle is a perfect fit (it’s a really good goggle, too). There are vents placed just behind the ears, which means you can still hear everything that’s going on outside the helmet, unlike many regular full face helmets. The helmet breathes very well, with tons of airflow all over the skull as soon as you get moving. The chin bar is wide but the large vent ensures that it never interferes with your breathing. You can even remove the grill if you really want to open things up to the max. On that note, we also tried running the Otocon without the cheek pads, as this is something it was also designed for according to POC, but we found it would lack some stability in this scenario. More useful for long liaison climbs than anything else in our opinion.

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On the trail, the Otocon is stable and feels very solid on the head. It doesn’t move around much, especially once you secure it with a goggle. The vents have all been placed outside of the goggle strap “channel”, so you’ll always have max airflow even with the goggles on. The retention system adjustment dial can also be accessed just below the goggle strap. The visor is not adjustable, but it sits in the right spot so this never turned into an issue for us. MIPS Integra is completely silent, and the whole helmet is devoid of any unwanted creaks or squeaks in action. All in all, the Otocon feels like a full face helmet but breathes as well as any of the competitors in this category of helmet.

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What’s The Bottom Line?

The lightweight and breathable full face helmet category is loaded with options these days, with all kinds of different designs available to choose from if you’re looking for the extra protection of a full face helmet but also need it to be breathable enough to be used for rides where you earn your turns. POC is a bit late to the party, but they’ve used their time wisely and they have really done their homework before launching the new Otocon. Absolutely brimming with safety features and sporting an innovative retention system, the Otocon Race MIPS clocks in at the very high end of the price range, but it also delivers a great experience on the trail and it arguably ticks enough boxes to justify the price tag. You can opt for the regular version to save a bit more weight and $80 USD off the purchase price if you don’t feel that you need MIPS, the NFC medical ID chip or the Recco radar reflector.

More information at: www.pocsports.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 48 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord

Specifications

Product POC Otocon Race MIPS Full Face Helmet
Riding Type Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Number of Vents 20
Construction PC, EPP, EPS
Adjustable Padding Yes
Certification EN 1078, CPSC 12.03, AS/NZS 2063, ASTM F1952
Bag Yes
Size XS, S, M, L
Colors White/Black, Black/White, Orange/Black, Purple/Black
Weight 1 lb 10.6 oz (754 g)
Miscellaneous Weight: 754 grams, size M, verified
Price $350
More Info

www.pocsports.com

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